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Adversary
04-29-2001, 05:53 PM
I remember as a highschool student taking a book out of my highschool library. It was a set of short stories. This was in the early 80's. The book if I remember correctly was an older book, hardbound. I have been trying to remember the name of the short story or the book for the longest time.

Plot synopsis of the story:
A man is put into a prison cell. This is not your ordinary prison though. It is a room that is on a large ferris wheel like structure inside of a mountain. The inmates have to pull on chains to make the structure spin. The inmates are put in at different points based on their sentence. It goes into great detail on how the whole thing works. The gist of the story is the man surviving his sentence inside this strange prison. I know this is very vague, anyone out there read this same story?

Thanks,

Mike

Mu Mu
04-29-2001, 06:05 PM
I know the story but not the title.

If it's the one I recall, at the end of the ride some of the machinery was designed to carve elaborate scrollwork into the back of the prisoners. Then they would be dumped by a mechanical pitchfork into a pile.

The story could have been named something simple, like "The Prisoner".

We were given an analysis that it was an alegory of Jesus, updated to reflect WWII cruelty.

yabob
04-29-2001, 06:12 PM
Not a short story, but the description is unmistakeable. Perhaps he used it in a different context in a short story or snitched the idea - The Great Wheel of Kharnabhar from Brian W. Aldiss' Helliconia trilogy, in particular the "Inside the Wheel" chapter towards the end of the third volume, "Helliconia Winter".

Helliconia is a terrific piece of work, BTW. You don't hear people mention it much.

yabob
04-29-2001, 06:50 PM
Aldiss has an "Acknowledgements" preface in "Helliconia Winter". For what it's worth, it says:

The structure of the Great Wheel owes much to Dr. Joern Bambeck.

rowrrbazzle
04-29-2001, 11:06 PM
Originally posted by Mu Mu
I know the story but not the title.

If it's the one I recall, at the end of the ride some of the machinery was designed to carve elaborate scrollwork into the back of the prisoners. Then they would be dumped by a mechanical pitchfork into a pile.

The story could have been named something simple, like "The Prisoner".

We were given an analysis that it was an alegory of Jesus, updated to reflect WWII cruelty.I think the story you describe is "In the Penal Colony" by Franz Kafka.

silent_rob
04-30-2001, 01:29 AM
Originally posted by zgystardst
I think the story you describe is "In the Penal Colony" by Franz Kafka.

Well, I don't know what the story mchapman described is, but it isn't "In the Penal Colony". "In the Penal Colony" is about a man who visits a penal colony where a machine carves the crime in the prisoner's back, and in the 6 hours it takes them to die they have an epiphany. The main part of that story is the visitor questioning the use of this capital punishment.

silent_rob
04-30-2001, 01:30 AM
Very sorry, zgystardst. I thought you were referring to the OP.

Again, very sorry.

Adversary
05-01-2001, 09:37 AM
Thanks for the replies all. I will check out the aforementioned books. From the descriptions though I don't think they fit. The search goes on...


Mike

muttrox
05-01-2001, 10:01 AM
I also thought of Brian Aldiss's Helliconia books. However, I'm not totally sure, depending on the OPosters memory. For one thing, they push, they don't pull. Also, it is very clear that you are not put in according to your sentence -- at any one time there are two open slots, one with a man getting out, one with a man getting in. One revolution was 10 years. And it is not the "gist" of the story, just one of the more memorable parts.

yabob
05-01-2001, 11:14 AM
Aldiss' prisoners pull on chains, as the OP described - I've got the book right in front of me. The point about prisoners being inserted at different points according to the length of their sentences doesn't match up, I will admit. However, there is so much overlap here that I would have to guess there is some connection, like Aldiss incorporating the idea from an earlier short story, or reworking that bit into a self contained story. Another point is that Aldiss describes the wheel and its functioning in excruciating detail, just as the OP suggests.

At the time of the story in Helliconia, the wheel is used for religious penance, which is the reason it was built. But:

The wheel would have come to a standstill had not the State stepped in to aid the Church. It had sent its criminals to Kharnabar, in order that they might serve their sentences in the Wheel and, crouched deep in rock, haul their world and themselves to remission. Thus had come about the close collaboration of Church and State which had sustained the strength of Sibornal for more Great Years than could be remembered.

I tried to look up Aldiss short stories, but the bibliographies I found of his work list short story collections, not individual stories.

I would be fascinated to learn that some other author came up with the idea independently.

kylemonger
03-19-2015, 07:07 PM
The rotating prison story is "Manuscript Found in a Police State" by Brian Aldiss.

Shagnasty
03-19-2015, 07:18 PM
The rotating prison story is "Manuscript Found in a Police State" by Brian Aldiss.

Thanks kylemonger. This thread is 14 years old but I don't think it was ever answered until now assuming you are correct. I have had questions answered after many years and answered a couple like that myself and it was always good to put the mystery to rest. The OP is still around or was at least in the past year. I will send a PM to make sure your response gets noted.

Colibri
03-19-2015, 08:37 PM
Moving to Cafe Society, which did not exist when this thread was started.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator

Wendell Wagner
03-19-2015, 10:41 PM
Here's a list of all the places where the story can be found:

http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?93578

I presume that the OP read it in Nine Strange Stories, edited by Betty M. Owen, which came out in 1974:

http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?93578

Algernon
03-20-2015, 09:23 AM
The rotating prison story is "Manuscript Found in a Police State" by Brian Aldiss.
Wow. I've been a member for a long time (as long as this thread), but I am still astounded at what can be discovered / uncovered / explained by Dopers.

Adversary
06-09-2016, 09:41 PM
Thanks All! I will find a copy of the story to read. I read on Straightdope alot but I guess I hadn't logged into my account for a long while. Shagnasty thanks for the message to look at the thread again! Of course I logged on to ask another vague question. :)

This place always amazes me.

Trinopus
06-09-2016, 09:57 PM
As long as we're chasing zombies... There's a bit in one of Burroughs' Barsoom (John Carter of Mars) novels where Dejah Thoris is put into a slowly revolving prison. I believe it's an end-of-novel cliffhanger. A year later, the doors align again and she can come out.

IvoryTowerDenizen
06-09-2016, 10:03 PM
The rotating prison story is "Manuscript Found in a Police State" by Brian Aldiss.

I remember that story- creeped me out as a kid

AHunter3
06-10-2016, 09:35 AM
As long as we're chasing zombies... There's a bit in one of Burroughs' Barsoom (John Carter of Mars) novels where Dejah Thoris is put into a slowly revolving prison. I believe it's an end-of-novel cliffhanger. A year later, the doors align again and she can come out.

Yep, either The Gods of Mars or The Warlord of Mars, forget which.

BrotherCadfael
06-10-2016, 10:12 AM
And as long as we are searching:

A short YA story where a kid does a science project to confirm the curvature of the Earth. He takes careful measurements of a distant mountain, and does the calculations, only to "discover" that the Earth is flat. Eventually, he works out that this was due to atmospheric refraction, and redoes the experiment, confirming that the Earth is, in fact, round.

Any ideas?

The Other Waldo Pepper
06-10-2016, 10:57 AM
PROJECT: GENIUS, by William Hayes.

Adversary
06-10-2016, 04:35 PM
Ordered the book today. After you posted the title I did some searching. It seems that I am not alone in my remembrance of this story. It stuck with alot of people. I couldn't find it available in electronic form.

I am eagerly awaiting the book and will post a followup after re-reading it!

Andy L
06-11-2016, 02:00 PM
PROJECT: GENIUS, by William Hayes.

Great book by the way - I reread it a few years ago, just for nostalgia's sake.

Tim R. Mortiss
06-11-2016, 05:08 PM
Yep, either The Gods of Mars or The Warlord of Mars, forget which.

Both, if I recall correct. It is the cliffhanger at the end of Gods, and is taken up again at the beginning of Warlord.

BrotherCadfael
06-11-2016, 06:02 PM
PROJECT: GENIUS, by William Hayes.Yup, that looks like it. Thanks!